This is the BEST cheesecake recipe because it’s creamy, smooth, and includes cheesecake baking tips and steps to ensure it turns out perfect.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST*
- 2 cups (280g) honey graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sleeves)
- 1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, melted
- (4) 8oz blocks Philadelphia full fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cups (255g) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
- 1 cup (250g) sour cream
STRAWBERRY TOPPING **SEE NOTES FOR ADDITIONAL TOPPING OPTIONS
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved or quartered
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 9″ springform pan with nonstick spray. Cut strips of parchment paper to line the sides.
- Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Dump the mixture into the springform pan and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan using a measuring cup.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and drop the temperature to 325F for the cheesecake. Place a large roast pan on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Before you start, make sure your cream cheese is softened and the eggs and sour cream are at room temperature. To speed up this process, place the cream cheese (still in the wrappings) and eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 20-30 minutes. Also include the sour cream, but place it in a ziplock bag. Then when you’re ready to use it, just snip off a corner and squeeze it into the batter.
- To start, add the cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on LOW speed just until it comes together and forms a smooth texture. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low for another 20 seconds.
- Pause and start a pot of boiling water (about 6 cups) on the stove top. This will be for the water bath that the cheesecake is baked in.
- Back to the batter. Mix in the eggs one at a time on LOW speed. Only add the next when the one prior is just incorporated. After the 2nd egg is mixed in, stop and scrape down the bowl. Mix for 20 seconds then continue with the rest of the eggs. Mix in the vanilla with the final egg yolk.
- Take the bowl off the mixer and fold in the sour cream using a rubber spatula. To fold, run the spatula around the bowl and through the center, dipping up from the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the cooled graham cracker crust and give it a gentle shake to even it out.
- Open the oven door and slide out the bottom rack with the roast pan, just enough to gain access to the pan. Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan and push the rack back in. Place the cheesecake just above the roast pan on the middle rack (see picture in post for reference).
- Quickly close the door (to stop the steam from escaping) and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- When it’s done, the edges should be puffed up and the center sunken down. Give the springform pan a gentle nudge. If the center wobbles like a bowl of milk, bake for another 10 minutes. If it jiggles like jello, it’s done.
- Turn the oven off and crack open the oven door with the cheesecake still inside. Leave it there for an hour.
- Then, take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minutes, remove the springform ring and peel back the parchment paper. Place the cheesecake uncovered in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
- Before you’re ready to serve, toss the strawberries in the sugar and let them macerate at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will release the juices to create a tender strawberry.
- Top with the fresh strawberries and enjoy!